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Net Neutrality: Did it ever exist?
Monday 24 January 2011 19:40:00 by Sebastien Lahtinen

The topic of 'net neutrality' has been in the news recently as rights groups campaign to 'keep the net neutral' whilst some service providers and content creators would like to strike special deals to deliver a premium experience for certain types of content. But what does 'net neutrality' actually mean?

Many of the arguments set out are to defend the current position, but exactly how neutral is the net? We would argue that it is far from neutral already, and our broadband blog has some examples of how the Internet today is already discriminating based on content your service provider would like ou to have access to.

Network diagram explaining Net Neutrality flaw

The Internet is a 'network of networks' and thus the service users receive depends on the weakest link on the path between the consumer and the provider of information. In our blog article, we examine the problem that already exists today with the way service providers influence performance, not by active 'traffic shaping', but by decisions on how they run their networks.



Posted by otester over 6 years ago
Quite simple, don't purchase services from ISP's that use unethical business practices.

When you need regulation to stop companies, you know the people have failed.

Can't say I have much faith this time around...
Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
we not been net neutral for ages. The data centre where I had 2 server had different connections, depending on how many points i was willing to spend got me different qualities and quantities of bandwidth. The default was to always route it over the most economical route unless the system detected the user was experiencing lag/delay it getting the data then it would use more expensive route.

Posted by damien001 over 6 years ago
I.e. i could have access to better performing networks but would get as much allowance in MB/GB or use networks where i got more MB/GB for the same price but network where not as good.

I could further control it by limiting on data types and where the end user was
Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago
It always used to be the case that paid more for trans-Atlantic traffic than European traffic. Very decidedly non-neutral, but it reflected the reality of the economics -- things in my building are cheap, easy and fast to communicate with. Half way around the world, not so much. Likewise things that don't peer at the same peering points as me.
Posted by awoodland over 6 years ago
I for one am willing to pay a premium for an ISP that has good peering arrangements with interesting content providers, or alternatively runs cache/CDN nodes in their datacentres.

Thank you for being the sane voice of reason against the "omg it's the end of the intertubes" brigade.
Posted by herdwick over 6 years ago
The BBC used to do a lot of peering with selected ISPs in the early days of ADSL, it was a selling point and you got a faster / higher quality service called BBCi (remnants of which can be found in Google cache pages etc).
Posted by seb (Favicon staff member) over 6 years ago
@otester: The average user will often go for the lowest price. The problem is that if large numbers of users don't get access to all Internet resources, the economics of startups may vary and things like Spotify etc.. might not exist, or would only come from those with industry contacts).
Posted by otester over 6 years ago

If the majority are going to rely on legislation rather than using their own intelligence we might as well make Milliband our new Mao Tse-tung and embrace totalitarian dictatorship.

This also applies to the loss of our manufacturing industry, remember people, every time you purchase a foreign product when a British one is available, you are slitting the throat of this once great nation.
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